Why is my guinea pig purring? (Causes & What you can do about it)

Why is my guinea pig purring? (Causes & What you can do about it)

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The purr of a guinea pig can be described as a sound similar to that of a cat. The first time you hear a noise like this, you might be amused or confused as to where it is coming from, depending on your perspective. No one knows for certain why guinea pigs purr, and most people are left scratching their heads, wondering, “Why is my guinea pig purring?” That is no longer the case! I did some preliminary research into it, and the following is what I discovered.Guinea pigs can purr in response to a variety of emotions, including happiness, fear, and annoyance. While a deep, relaxed purr indicates that your guinea pig is content or happy, a higher-pitched purr (which sounds more like a growl) indicates that your guinea pig is annoyed. When a short purr is heard along with a still (motionless) guinea pig, this indicates fear or anxiety.

In the event that your guinea pig is purring out of happiness, you shouldn’t be overly concerned.

A higher-pitched purr should definitely raise your suspicions, but let’s go over the details of what it is in more detail.

Please take a moment to review our guide on What noises do guinea pigs make and how loud they are before continuing on this page. This guide will assist you in gaining a better understanding of the behavior of your guinea pig.

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What does it mean when my guinea pig purrs?

Despite the fact that they do not speak human language, your guinea pigs are able to communicate by making a variety of vocal noises.

What Guinea Pig Noises Indicate and What They Mean

One of the sounds they make on a regular basis is purring. At different times of the day, the purring noise can serve a variety of functions.

If your guinea pig is purring and appears to be relaxed and calm, this indicates that they are content.

The opposite is true if your guinea pig is stressed and purring, which indicates that it is annoyed.

Sometimes guinea pigs purr when they are scared of something, so you may need to keep an eye on them to figure out what is causing the purring in the first place.

What else makes guinea pigs purr?

There is more to guinea pigs’ purring noises than just happiness and annoyance, as evidenced by the fact that they make them on a regular basis.

Observing their body language and facial expressions can assist you in understanding the reason for their actions even better.

I attempted to compile a list of some of the most common signs that many guinea pig owners notice and frequently inquire about in the community. So, let’s take a closer look at what they have to say.

Guinea pig purr and walk slowly

Guinée pigs’ slow-moving behavior that is followed by a purr is usually the beginning of dominance behavior in the species.

The behavior we called “rumble strutting” is characterized by the guinea pigs generally vibrating like a phone, making a purring and rumbling noise, and then performing a particular movement.

It also plays a role in the mating call and dominance behavior of males and females. When one of the guinea pigs wants to demonstrate that he is the alpha male in the enclosure, they engage in a face-off and vocal confrontation, during which the guinea pigs are known to make loud noises.

You can learn more about guinea pig dominance behavior by reading our guide on the subject: Guinea pig dominance behavior (Signs and behavior).

Guinea pig purr when I pet him

Some guinea pigs enjoy being petted and cuddled, while others are not so fond of this. If your guinea pig is the type that enjoys being petted, he or she will stretch out, relax, and make a faint purring sound when you pet them.

Guinea pigs are purring with delight.

It is possible to hear an aggressive purr noise emanating from the mouths of your pet guinea pigs if they do not enjoy being petted or become annoyed when you stroke them in the wrong spot.

Such a sound indicates that it is time to return them to their cage, and you must refrain from petting them unless you want them to bite you.

I’ve also written a comprehensive guide on the subject of whether guinea pigs are cuddly. How to develop a close relationship with them. This is something I believe you should definitely look into.

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Guinea pig purring while eating

The purring of guinea pigs while eating can be caused by two different factors. Either they are pleased that they received their favorite treat, or they are irritated and angry that another guinea pig took their favorite eating spot or a portion of the food that they had been enjoying.

Regardless of the situation, there is little you can do to change things. If your angry guinea pigs become overly aggressive, you may want to throw another piece of food or treat their way to calm them down until they calm down.

Isn’t it true that there are more than 60 different fruits that you can give to your Guinea pigs as a special treat? Our guide contains additional information on fruits for guinea pigs, including serving size recommendations and potential hazards.

Guinea pigs purring at each other

Guinea pigs purring at each other is an important part of their communication, and it occurs most frequently at the beginning of dominance behavior or when one guinea pig is annoyed by an action of the others.

Some female guinea pigs also purr and become aggressive when they are in heat; however, unless they are fighting, there is no need for you to intervene.

Experts advise keeping a close eye on them and intervening if they become overly aggressive; otherwise, let them go about their business as it is completely natural for them.

Guinea pig purring and shaking

Purring is usually accompanied by shaking or vibrating, which indicates that your guinea pig is pleased with something or is frightened by something.

For example, if your guinea pig enjoys being petted by you and you are holding them in your lap while petting them, they may make a mild purring noise and vibrate, which indicates that they are content.

However, if something is stressing your guinea pig out, such as predators in the vicinity, a loud noise, or something similar, they may shake and purr in response to the stress.

If they are alarmed by something in their immediate vicinity, they will usually become motionless or flee to safety in order to avoid being seen.

Guinea pigs have been known to shake as a result of a cold or for other reasons. For more information, please see our article on Why are my guinea pigs shaking?

What to do when your guinea pig purrs

It is entirely dependent on the reason for your guinea pig’s purring. The fact that your guinea pig is purring out of happiness means that there is nothing to worry about.

A stressful purr, on the other hand, should definitely set your alarm clock off. If your guinea is irritated by something and you are aware of the source of the irritation, try to eliminate the source of the irritation.

In the case of your guinea pig becoming agitated because your neighbor is not handling them properly or petting them in the wrong spot, you may want to consider relocating your neighbor to another location away from your pet.

When guinea pigs are stressed, they may also purr to relieve their stress. Consider the following scenario: you have a cat as well as a guinea pig, and your cat has managed to sneak into your guinea pig’s room without you noticing. Your guinea pigs may have become alarmed as a result of the unexpected circumstances and may purr quite loudly to signal for help.

In such a situation, removing your cat from the situation and placing it next to your guinea pigs’ cage while talking to them can help to keep them calm.

Now, the situation may be different in your case, but I believe you understand what I’m saying.

Investigate the source of the purring.
If at all possible or necessary, get rid of the source of the problem.
Talking to your guinea pig or giving them a treat will help to calm them down.

Conclusion: Is guinea pig purring good or bad?

It is undoubtedly difficult to determine whether the purring sound your guinea pig is making is beneficial or detrimental.

You might want to take a closer look at the expression that goes along with the purr. If your guinea pig is relaxed and making a purring noise, this indicates that they are content with their lives. If they are stressed and making a loud purring noise, on the other hand, it indicates that they are frustrated.

Observe your guinea pig for any additional signs or changes in behavior to determine whether it is purring because it is happy or because something is wrong with it.

If your guinea pig is purring out of fear or annoyance, you may want to intervene, but if they are not, you can leave them alone without causing any concern.


Sources: Guinea‐pig Vocalizations, Representation of the purring call in the guinea pig, Understanding Your Pet Guinea Pig, Guinea Pig Sounds